Groups Co-ordinators & Administrators Workshop

June saw the annual group organisers’ workshop held at the Angel Hotel.  Nearly all our groups were represented and some time was spent deciding what was good about our groups, how they were organised and offering ideas on good practice, whilst at the same time considering ways and means of how things could be improved.  Those present thanked Group Enablers Geoff Woods and Helen Salisbury for organising the occasion.

Amongst the things generally considered as positive were the friendly nature of our groups, their openness to people and ideas, the opportunity our groups give to people to develop new skills and learn new things, and the fact that SLU3A and its groups helps people new to the area to join the wider community and offering them and others the chance to meet new people.  As one person put it, ‘‘If it ain’t bust , don’t fix it.’  And several individual groups were singled out for favourable comments.

But not all was sweetness and light.  Group leader succession was one particular problem noted, as was the fact that some groups seemed to be full up — groups need to be open, and if full, then one or two original members should start up another group then, when it is up and running, they could return to their original group.

Printing the Newsletter in colour was one suggestion (Editor — too expensive) and distributing it via email and encouraging members to use the internet was another (we need e-mail addresses to do the latter).  And the chairman was encouraged to address members as Ladies and Gentlemen, rather than calling everybody Guys!

Comments included:

General (Green stickers)

  • I like the friendliness of some groups. The group I started share responsibility and is open to new members. I wish all groups were the same.

  • Maintaining friendliness in a group is a great asset. A group is established for the benefit of all members. There is no room for large personal egos!

  • If it isn’t bust don’t fix it. Keep going as you are.

  • Group members doing things for themselves like organising refreshments, as well as advertising their groups among friends.

  • Sharing ideas. Nice venue. Friendship.

  • Friendliness.

  • Getting to know each other is important in developing a good spirit. A suggestion to help this would be to put the group name against the members present at the Workshop.

  • Share responsibility. Affordable rent.

  • As well as learning new skills we serve a need for lonely people, ie joining U3A when recently bereaved.

  • We allow people moving to the area to meet like minded and it helps them to feel part of the community.

  • Talking to people you have never met before.

  • Open membership providing a steady influx of new blood, new group ideas, new leaders.

  • SLU3A is ahead of others.

  • Supportive committee!

  • David Kyle is excellent.

  • Using tablets and phones – possible workshop for dummies plus getting to know your computer and advanced.

Specific (Green stickers)

  • Walking – Offer lifts to minimise carbon footprint.

  • Walking Groups – Always welcome new members; share responsibility for organising new walks.

  • Quilters Corner – we are a group of friends who like to sew and natter.

  • The facilities at the Congregational Church are excellent, especially the Bowden room which suits our poetry group admirably and is such good value. Ditto for German.

  • Our Quilty Pleasures group delegates – more than one person able to run workshops, or indeed the group – we encourage all our members to share any knowledge and expertise – it is all very valuable.

  • Railway Exploration Group. Our informal meetings are very varied. Members are enthusiastic and knowledgeable and happy to share their expertise and provide presentations.

  • Painting and Drawing. I have no natural talent but wanted to try water colour. I have very recently joined this group. Everyone is so helpful and I have learned such a lot during the few sessions I have been able to attend.

  • Tom Gilmore – Society Today Have Your Say. The serious and positive approach of all members is very pleasing – we are lucky indeed.

  • Trips are very good. But how many of people are members of groups?

  • Music appreciation (Friday). Try to introduce lesser-known music. Respond to reactions. Keep the introduction light.

  • Mens Golf – Good group, relaxed and fun loving members. Chase up the subs. Have little contact with SLU3A.

  • Play 2x per week. One member organises Monday another Thursday.

  • The Monday Bridge Group at Great Bowden Village hall maintains a regular attendance of about 24. This is pleasing as new players join as others die off!  We would welcome more new members however. Chris Graves.

General (Amber stickers)

  • Groups should not say they are full. One or two members should start another group then return to their original group.

  • We are poor at finding younger members to take over from existing group leaders. We should be more encouraging.

  • Could you arrange payment of subs at same time as MHU3A. Too confusing now.

  • We are not Guys (or dolls). What happened to Ladies and Gentlemen?

  • Could you apply for 106 fund to give us computers, equipment.

  • Have the committee explored the possibility of the newsletter being printed in colour?

  • I’d like to see more use of the Internet by its members. The newsletter perhaps being sent out by email, and newsflashes being sent out by email.

  • Group leadership succession planning is bad.

  • Could we have a reduced membership fee for those who may join in mid year?

  • Consider a “quick-scan” table of groups by day/time etc like MHU3A do (eg Mon French, Tues Cycling etc). Useful for new members. Easily put on web page, worth including in newsletter?

  • Encourage a member from your group to take a turn in running a meeting.

  • We don’t know much about how big each group is.

  • Encourage others to take responsibility. Why can’t we have a barn dance once a year.

  • This was the first time I was aware I should be checking that group members were paid up! I knew I had to get their membership numbers but didn’t realise I should follow up annually.

  • Some members of groups must become aware that it is not organised just for their satisfaction. Successful groups are a joint effort!!!